The Japanese delicacy fugu, or blowfish, is so poisonous that the smallest mistake in its preparation could be fatal. The tetrodotoxin found in fugu is more toxic than cyanide, and each year about 20 people are poisoned from badly prepared fish. It takes a lot of skill and training to prepare the fish safely and know which parts are poisonous.
The Japanese government tightly control who can prepare fugu, and chefs need to take an extensive exam before they’re legally allowed to serve the fish. This rigorous regulation means that while the fish can be lethal, far more people die from eating oysters than fugu each year.
All of the skill and training that goes into preparing this fish increases the price. The fish is killed seconds before preparation. And while the process looks gruesome as the muscles continue to spasm, the fish is dead.
Fugu has a very mild whitefish-like flavor with a pure and clean quality to it. Its taste is subtle which is fairly unique for seafood, and is part of why the dish is sought after. Its texture will vary significantly depending on how it is cooked.